We should all come together around the downtown Buffalo retail business. Over the years we have seen sparks of a retail movement, with little traction. Currently, restaurants and cafes are leading the way, but there are pioneers like Keelin Burke (owner of Realm) planting flags in downtown Buffalo, and waiting for the favorable winds to blow.
Over the weekend, I finally got the chance to stop by Realm’s temporary shared space, where a pop-up market was underway. I must say that these are the kind of ephemeral collective enterprises that I like to see set up in the city. During my visit, I spoke to a number of young entrepreneurs and creators, who were obviously excited to be part of the Realm experience.
One of those designers was Corrie Allen (main image), who is dedicated to creating and selling original sartorial art. As it turns out, Carrie is presenting a gallery exhibit at Realm on Monday, November 8, with an opening reception from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
As it turns out, Corrie attended SUNY Buffalo State, where she was able to put together the tools that would lead her to an entrepreneurial career in textile design. Today, she is able to infuse her artistic talents into her products, transferring her own emotional experiences into models of representation. These design patterns are then applied to clothing and accessories, including sneakers. You can see some of Corrie’s designs on her Instagram page. You can also attend the next show, to see some of his original works of art.
Before heading out for my next downtown adventure, I bought a few clothes, including a well-tailored bike bandana and a colorful T-shirt from local designer Robert Rusch. I thought I needed to step up my dress code for a visit to Hombre y Lobo, which just opened around the corner.
But before I left, I had a chat with Keelin about finding more retailers, to create a real shopping experience Downtown, anchored somewhere between its temporary shared space at 441 Ellicott Street, and its (soon) permanent space at 130 Genesee Street. Keelin is confident that with the right mix of product offerings and some retail density, everyone can thrive.
Currently there are a number of online retail stores in the area, as well as other restaurant concepts (stay tuned). The building blocks are all lying around and need to be put back together. If you know someone who wants to delve into the world of retail in downtown Buffalo, Keelin wants to talk to that person.
In the meantime, stop by Realm and stock up on unique and funky merchandise that makes ideal gifts for the holiday season. Don’t wait for the overseas supply chain bottleneck to clear… support your local marketers instead!
Shared Kingdom Space | 441 Ellicott Street (temporary location) | Buffalo NY 14203 | Website | Instagram